Slobbery as Snobbery. The article is quite old (it was originally posted by Taki Mag on June 15, 2014), but I only read it yesterday as some other blog I visit linked to it.
The article makes some very good points and coincidentally, it's about the author's trip to Amsterdam and how he was shocked by the horrible way people around him dressed. (My countrymen certainly won't win the European Prize for their sense of fashion, though I'd say that what I've seen in England was not always much better). However, Mr Dalrymple also makes general observations about the state of things in the West concerning dress and manners (the comments were well worth reading, too, all 500+ of them:).
He starts by saying that there are very few well-dressed people around which he partly attributes to the mass production of clothes, but then Mr Dalrymple points out that there is also a deliberate act of will on the part of people in general to look like slobs:
Practically everyone now dresses not merely in a casual way, but with
studied slovenliness for fear of being thought elegant, as elegance is a
metonym for undemocratic sentiment or belief. You can dress as
expensively as you like, indeed expensive scruffiness is a form of chic,
but on no account must you dress with taste and discrimination. To do
so might be to draw hostile attention to yourself.
I personally find it a very astute observation. It's true that the majority of people nowadays, both men and women look as if they are afraid of being accused of looking too well. Heaven forbid you put some thought into the way you dress, it's almost as if they desire to look as slovenly and unkempt as possible. Some sort of trashy chic, I guess. The objective seems to be to look as if you bought most of your clothes at Salvation Army charity shop (though I personally bought good quality stylish clothes at a Goodwill type of store).
Mr Dalrymple notes that even expensive shops (and those in Amsterdam can be very pricey indeed) offer clothes which hardly can be described as elegant. It's interesting that when a discussion like this begins, people will tell you that nice clothes are expensive, and they can't afford looking better than tramps, and yet, as the author of the original article points out, they do have money for tattoos and piercings:
Is it not odd that in an age when more people have a large discretionary
income than ever before, and are prepared to pay thousands for such
adornments as tattooing (some one in five American adults are now
tattooed), almost everyone should look as if he or she had just rolled
out of bed and picked up a pile of clothes from the night before that
was lying crumpled on the floor?
People in the West aren't really that poor that they can't afford to own some decent-looking garments. Mr Dalrymple admits that when he was younger he thought that dressing well wasn't important at all, however, as he grew older, he changed his mind. That's actually a normal process called growing up, though a lot of adults nowadays seem to be stuck in the perpetual adolescence.
Mr Dalrymple is correct in pointing out that slovenliness in dress is nearly always the result of laziness. However, he is probaly right in stating that it's more than laziness which causes moderns to look as horrible as they do: the conscious desire to offend others, to express your contempt for their opinions of you:
The problem is not merely absence of self-respect, it is active
hostility to self-respect, replaced entirely by self-esteem. The former
says, “I will keep myself looking good in the eyes of others;” the
latter says, “What is good enough for me is good enough for everyone
else, and if they find me an eyesore they can jolly well put up with
The author describes a fashion show he witnessed in one of the shops in Amsterdam where the female models paraded around with an expression of hatred for people around them on their faces. I quite often buy sewing and knitting magazines which feature pictures from catwalks and I noticed it, too. Instead of trying to look pleasant, female models have a look of universal contempt for those around them.
In short, as Mr Dalrymple sums it up: This is the first age in which people do not dress to please others, but dress to displease others...
I believe he is right, too. We went from teaching our children to dress well to please or impress others to letting them dress in deliberately offensive manner in order to express themselves or some such nonsense. Our whole society is oriented towards the worship of Self (think of the obsession with selfies). So here is the challenge: if you want to change things for the better and to save Western civilisation you can start by making a conscious effort to dress elegantly and to look well at all occasions and teach your children to do the same.
Let's all try in our daily life not to look like the people featured in those pictures:
People Of Walmart